You have to wonder what they’re smokin’ over there at the Israeli foreign ministry in Tel Aviv. Haaretz’s resident government stenographer, Barak Ravid, reports that an anonymous government official actually had the effrontery to tell him that the Russians will back a new round of punishing sanctions against Iran:
Israeli officials’ intensive talks with their Russian counterparts have led them to believe that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is more willing than ever before to advance additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Israeli and European authorities believe Russia’s support virtually guarantees that new sanctions may be put in place. According to a senior Israeli official, “If Russia moves toward sanctions, the Chinese won’t want to be left standing alone, and will have no other choice but to join as well.”
Nonetheless, Israel is interested in drafting an alternative plan in case the Security Council debates do not progress.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in closed-door meetings that an effective sanctions package can be assembled through U.S.-EU cooperation, bolstered with assistance from regional powers like Japan and South Korea.
Ah yes, Medvedev is “more willing” to back sanctions than ever before. That would mean he’s more willing to back them than the last few times he’s publicly refused to commit to them. And whenever he HAS made sympathetic noises he has contradicted them as soon as Ahmadinejad made a visit to Moscow.
And don’t ya just love the scenario by which China will see it’s the only country in the room with it’s pants down and will run for cover when it finds that Russia has got religion and joined the crowd in punishing Iran. By what logic or rationale can anyone say that China is likely to do any such thing??
The truth is this is a typical example of an Israeli government policy mode which I call “if wishing made it so.” If you want something badly enough, well it’s just gotta happen, doesn’t it? Well, no, it doesn’t. This policy approach overlooks the fact that governments like Russia and China actually have their own interests and they might-just might, find those interests more allied with Iran than Israel especially since Iran is a close neighbor and major trading/business partner. Essentially, there is a lot more money to be made in Iran than Israel. So why would these two major powers agree to sanctions if it hurts them in the pocketbook and if they view the policy as doomed to failure, as it undoubtedly is?
I presume this must be a ploy by which Israel hopes to put pressure on Russia to adopt a policy that it (Israel) wants it (Russia) to adopt. If so, this seems awfully feeble. Medvedev could brush this off as an elephant swats a fly.
It’s curious that Netanyahu would believe an alternative sanctions plan could be “effective” sans two of Iran’s most critical trade partners. This defies common sense, a commodity apparently not in great supply among Israeli government officials.
The Israelis have to be quite happy with Robert Gates’ recent comments predicting a new round of sanctions, the first time he has ever talked of such an eventuality. It appears that the Israeli diplomats, the Mossad, and domestic anti-Iran hawks are in the ascendancy for the moment.